Misconceptions About Suicide

Misconceptions About Suicide

As someone who works with suicide nearly everyday of my life, I often hear misconceptions from patients, parents, colleagues, and even the public. I hope to shed some light on misconceptions I hear:

1.Suicide is selfish.

Suicide often occurs in people with serious mental illness. People with depression often describe feeling hopeless and helpless. They view suicide as a way to escape their pain. Part of the interpersonal theory of suicide is perceived burdensomeness. This means that those who attempt suicide are often acting in a way they think will benefit their family. While it hurts loved ones, it is important to keep in mind the state of mind these victims are in at the state of their attempts.

2.It’s not suicide if they don’t write a note.

Actually, it is estimated that only 10-25% of people who attempt suicide leave a note.

3.Suicide is impulsive.

Those who attempt suicide have often thought about suicide for days, weeks, months, and years. The interpersonal theory of suicide notes that those who attempt suicide have habituated to the idea of death for some time, as a result this overrides their survival instinct and allows the attempt to occur.

4.Suicide is about revenge.

This is a very uncommon scenario, but has been documented in a fraction of suicide cases.

5.Suicide is more common around the winter holidays.

Actually, the interpersonal theory of suicide indicates that a lack of connection to others is a factor in suicide attempts. Around the holidays many family and friends spend time together. We actually notice an increase in suicides in the spring.

Fact about suicide:

  1. It is estimated that for every one death by suicide there are 20 other attempts.
  2. Nearly all person who have attempted suicide were previously diagnosed with a mental illness or showed symptoms before death.
  3. Men to complete suicide about four times more than women. Researchers attribute this to a male’s likeliness to utilize more lethal measures such as firearms.
  4. Suicide is the third leading cause of death in adolescents.
  5. Despite only compromising 13% of the population in the United States, over 18% of suicide occur in the elderly.

If you have questions, have contemplated suicide, or are recovering from suicidal thoughts or attempts, you can reach out to Cy-Hope Counseling for additional support.

Written by: Kristina Zufall, M.Ed., LPC-Intern